In sweltering conditions at Apple Valley High School on Saturday, the 41st annual Eagle Invitational turned into a hotly-contested battle between three former Lake Conference rivals. The host Eagles tied for second place, finishing third on a tiebreaker with Eden Prairie and taking three of the top five individual spots.
After occupying third and fourth place for most of the race, senior George Knier and junior Nicholas Pederson charged up the hill on Hayes Road with 400 meters to go, moving into second and third places. Knier took second overall, passing Pederson after both had moved beyond Eastview’s Michael Brennan. He finished in 18:01.8, while Pederson took third in 18:05.4.
Senior Brandon Roberts had his best race of the year, finishing in 18:25.3 and holding off a late charge from Eden Prairie’s Alex Gutierrez to hang onto fifth. Junior Jonathan Connors (19:15.1) was 15th overall, and senior Ethan Monsen (19:30.6) was 21st.
Sophomore Elliot Ewald, the Eagles’ sixth runner, was also their sixth medalist, placing 25th in 19:30.6. Senior Max Moynihan rounded out Apple Valley’s varsity lineup, taking 33rd overall in 20:47.1.
In the JV race, junior Karl Van Horsen continued his steady improvement, taking 10th overall in 19:55.1 to post Apple Valley’s seventh-best time of the day. Senior Noah Pearson was 19th overall, finishing in 20:22.8.
The Eagles’ next meet is Oct. 3, when coach Rollie Greeno and his brother — St. Michael Albertville coach Gregg Greeno — will square off for bragging rights at the STMA Invitational.